Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Total Quality Management in Special Education?


This is a link to the Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology home page. This consortium, out of the University of Kentucky, has created these indicators as a tool for evaluating program effectiveness. 

I am not a big fan of the movement to view education as a business (for many reasons not relevant to this post) but one area that I think education systems could learn from is Total Quality Managment.

After a three year saga with our district to get an Augmentative and Assisitive Communication assessment and speech generating device for my daughter, our district has agreed to complete a program quality review in this area. We are using the QIAT indicators. I am interested to see how the process goes, and eager to post some of the lessons learned along the way. 

My initial impression? This is a completely new process for the district. They really have very little, if any experience with collecting data about performance and using that information to improve their programs.

That might explain a few things. 

I am excited that they have embarked on this project and are including parents and many community stake holders. Quality management is a challenge for businesses with plenty of experience-- for the district to take it on voluntarily is remarkable.  I hope that this initial model becomes a process for improving quality that the district can use-- eventually-- in other program areas.